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A few simple steps to do it up right (expert advice)
photo by Purple Peony Couture
By Lisa Butterworth for our sponsor, Etsy Weddings
What do you do when one of your best friends gets engaged? If you’re like me, beyond the excited squeals and enthusiastic hugging — you have no idea.
I met my friend Jeanette when we were five years old. Five! And when one of your best friends gets engaged — as Jeanette recently did — it's time to celebrate her. Here’s a helpful breakdown of the party-planning process — so when it comes time to throw your best girl a bridal shower, you can honor her in style.
Photo & Invite Design by Erin Mowry
1. Pick Invites
We’re going the simple, eco-friendly route and sending email invites through PaperlessPost.com, but there are a ton of adorable, tangible shower invite designs on Etsy, as well as download-and-print options.
Clockwise from top left: Light shower invitation by Youngwanderlust; Hydrangea invitation by Digibuddhapaperie; Whimsy invitation by Yellowbrickgraphics; Love is sweet invitation by Pinkcreativeinvites; Coed shower invitations by Cadencepaige; I Do couples shower invitations by Minkcards. See more shower invites...
This is where a theme comes in handy. If you have a specific vibe, you can decorate accordingly. If your party doesn’t have a theme, pick a color scheme to bring it all together. A few areas you’ll want to decorate: serving buffet, bar area, gift table, activities area, table for favors. Don't forget about centerpieces, string lights, hanging decorations, banners, and food markers for added flair.
Clockwise from top left: Poppy hanging flowers by Whimsypie; Engagement ring cookies by Peapodsnyc; Bride-to-be banner by Fancyflamingo; Mossy pot place cards by Fairyfolk; Corset cookies by Pastrytartbakery; Mr. and Mrs. chair banner by Purplepeonycouture; Candy heart tree by Astylishdesign; Something blue wedding cake cookies by Lindasedibleart. Browse more décor...
3. Plan a Menu
Plan your menu according to the theme of your party or the time of day. If you’re intimidated by all that kitchen prep, make the shower a potluck and have everyone bring copies of their dish’s recipe (here are a couple of adorable, (1) free downloadable (2) recipe cards for such an occasion).
Photo by Erin Mowry
4. Snag Fun Favors
It’s the hostess’s job to send all the party-goers home with a little favor. To go with our beachy, West Coast theme, we’re making friendship bracelets for all of the ladies. Make sure your favor is small but meaningful and tie it in with the theme of your party as best you can.
Clockwise from top left: Personalized seed bomb favors by Visualingual; Pinwheels by Pickledparlor; Personalized honey jar labels by Elsiej; Succulent favors by Tobieanne; Personalized photo sleeve by Myonesweetdaydotcom; Unicorn farts lip balm by Longwintersoapco; Gin and tonic soap by Aromaholic. Shop for favors on etsy...
5. Shower Her with Gifts
The bride-to-be is almost certainly registered with at least one department store, but often it’s more fun to shop off-list, especially for a shower present. Kitchenware and home décor are excellent go-to gift genres, but a sassy piece of lingerie will always be welcome, too.
Clockwise from top left: Bride panties from Bridalbooties; Chill pill soap by Kcsoapsnmore; Vintage clock from Ethanollie; A Guineafowl Gathering painting by Unitedthread; Ceramic salad bowls by Blueskypotteryco; Dry rub spice trio from Craigsmarket; Customized rubber stamp by Housethatlarsbuilt; Personalized wood initials ring by Braggingbags; Vintage ceramic teapot from Hindsvik; Wood ampersand by Hindsvik. See more gift ideas for the bride-to-be...
Whew! That’s a lot of steps. The most important thing to keep in mind is to create an environment that will allow your guests to have fun, even if the cupcake frosting isn’t perfect or the décor doesn’t totally come together. As long as it’s memorable, and the guest of honor feels loved, you’ve done an amazing job.
Lisa Butterworth is a writer and editor soaking up the eternal sunshine in Los Angeles. When she's not on the hunt for the latest and greatest in girl culture as the West Coast editor of BUST magazine, she's flea marketing, taco trucking, and generally raising a ruckus.
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By: Sarah Zlotnick
Don't get us wrong—we love, love, love the classic look of a floor-length wedding gown. But after rings have been exchanged and vows have been said, what bride doesn't want a dress that's a little easier to move in? We're big time advocates of a second (and shorter!) reception dress here at Project Wedding, and this sweet little Kirribilla number from Weddington Way is one of our faves right now. Add a few bits of (elegant) bling and finish off with a shiny cobalt shoe for a city chic ballroom celebration.
You Might Also Like: Black Tie Bridal Ensemble
Where to Buy: Kirribilla Celeste Little White Dress ($420) • Ban.do Crystal Swirl Brooch Bobbi ($130) • New Look pleated satin box clutch ($22.02) • Lydell NYC stud earrings ($25) • Kate Spade Emison satin peep toe pump ($328)
Statement skirts are one of our favorite ways to turn heads down the aisle. And while we're all for intricate layers of ruche and tulle, there is definitely something to be said for bigger, bolder, and simpler. One of the most creative twists on the big ball gown we saw on Spring 2014 runways was the wide panel tier. Skirt layers got larger and longer, and we think the look is just perffect for the bride who wants to look a little more playful on her big day. What's your take on the style? Let us know in the comments!
no. 1 Amsale • no. 2 Alyne
no. 3 Marchesa • no. 4 Ines Di Santo
Now that you're engaged, it's important you learn how to take care of your ring. Here's how. (expert advice) photo by Todd Rafakovitch When it comes to engagement ring care, you'd be surprised how many women overlook the importance of ring upkeep. Just imagine – you are faithfully brandishing your ring on a daily basis with all of the everyday wear and tear that comes with your regular activities.
Whether you're scrubbing caked on grease from last night's dinner or planting seeds in your garden, chances are your engagement ring has been right along for the ride. In order to rid your precious ring of unwanted dust, dirt, and yes…dead skin particles that have come in contact with your ring, commit to memory the following engagement ring care tips:
Cleaning: For diamond engagement ring care, simply soak in warm water for at least 30 minutes using a liquid detergent. Another method for engagement ring care regarding diamond settings involves soaking your ring in a solution consisting of 50 parts ammonia and 50 parts cool water. Once out of the solution, use a soft brush to tap the front and back of the ring, in hopes of loosening any dirt. Rinse again in the solution, and then pat dry.
Wedding Ring Prongs: Engagement ring care also means that you should treat ring prongs to a bit of tender loving care. Over time, they can become weakened, bent or loose. Check your stone by holding it up to your ear and slightly tapping it. A loose stone will produce a slight rattling sound. To prevent loss of your stone, have a trusted jeweler inspect your engagement ring, provide a professional cleaning, and look over your prongs.
Storage: When not wearing your diamond engagement ring, carefully store in a separate jewelry case or individually lined compartment, which keeps diamonds from rubbing against other pieces of jewelry. This can produce a scratch.
Protection: If you engage in hard labor on a routine basis, follow the important engagement ring care tip of simply taking off your ring when doing activities, such as operating heavy machinery or construction work. This will help avoid breaks, splits, cracks, and looseness. Keep in mind that even digging in the ground while gardening can cause damage to an engagement ring – there's a lot of rocks hidden in the dirt!
As your wedding day approaches, there are a few things you should do to ensure that your appearance will be flawless on the big day. (expert advice)
Photo By: Pen Carlson Photography
In order to make sure that you look your absolute best on your wedding day, you have probably booked appointments with your hair stylist, manicurist and pedicurist, make-up artist and even a tanning specialist. As your wedding day approaches, there are a few things you should do to ensure that your appearance will be flawless on the big day. Below, you will find some beauty check in tips to guide you toward the perfect wedding day appearance.
Beauty Check In: Hair and Make-Up
The last thing you want for your wedding is a bad hair day and make-up which makes you look like a clown. If you haven't scheduled a ‘practice run,' it's important to do this at least a few weeks before the big day. Check your hair by moving around and shaking your head to ensure that it will stay in place. Your make-up should look natural and enhance the beauty you already possess; not like you're being painted up for some kind of strange ritual! Make sure you feel comfortable with your selections and that the hair looks great with the dress. This beauty check in will make you feel more confident and excited about the big day.
Beauty Check In: Manicure and Pedicure
If you've never received a manicure or pedicure before, you may want to have it done a few weeks before the wedding. It's essential to be sure that you're happy with the look and that you're comfortable with the results. If you will be wearing tips or other types of fake nails, make sure they're at a length you feel comfortable with. If you have it done a few weeks ahead of time, you will only need to schedule a ‘filler' appointment to make sure everything is in place. You will also have the chance to get accustomed to fake nails if you've never had them before.
Beauty Check In: Spray Tan
If you will be receiving a spray tan for your wedding, it's imperative that you make sure the specialist is using the right color. Have a practice run about a month before the wedding and if you're happy with the results, have your specialist take notes of color combinations and any other important points. You will definitely want to be checked for a sensitivity or allergy - imagine walking down the aisle with hives!
By doing a beauty check in at least a few weeks before the wedding, you can tie up loose ends and ensure that everything is set for your ceremony.
Planning healthy snacks for your big day is just as important as your wedding cake, so don't overlook it! (expert advice) From the time you wake up until you finally settle into your honeymoon suite, your wedding day is going to be full of nonstop action. Where will you find the energy to play the role of the beautiful bride without any time to eat? Planning healthy snacks for your big day is just as important as your wedding cake – especially since that bite of cake may be the only thing you put in your stomach! Start out your day with a light, but filling breakfast and ask your maid of honor to help you prepare a snack bag to bring along to the wedding. Snacks to Avoid You don’t want to stain your dress or destroy your makeup and you definitely don’t want an upset stomach to ruin your special day – those nervous butterflies are bad enough. Stay away from carbonated drinks, heavy or greasy foods, and anything that may drip, drop, or ooze into a potential wedding disaster. You’ll also want to avoid lots of sugars and carbohydrates or you may experience a crash rather than an energy boost. Snacks to Pack Choose healthy wedding day snacks that are easy to eat on the go. High protein foods will provide you with the energy you need to make it through the big day. I would suggest carrying along an insulated lunch bag to keep things fresh and remember to pack a few extra snacks to share with your groom – his day will be nearly as hectic as yours! Peanut butter crackers Beef jerky Trail mix Yogurt String cheese Peanuts Dried fruit Bring along a few plain saltine crackers to nibble on too, just in case you experience any last minute waves of nausea. Wedding Day Snack Station Instead of carrying around snacks for yourself, you may want to organize a snack station for the entire wedding party to enjoy. It will be a busy day for everyone and nothing could be worse than a hungry, inattentive flower girl or the sounds of a groomsman’s growling stomach! Set up a table with vegetables and dip, turkey wraps, or crackers and cheese to keep those hunger issues at bay. High protein, healthy snacks are a must for your big day. Whether you arrange a platter for the entire wedding party or just toss a few things into your tote bag, be sure you take a few minutes to munch throughout the day. Healthy snacks will give you the energy you need to create a picture perfect wedding.
By: Chelsea FussThis bouquet is so simple and effortless. Pair it with a lace dress or a simple sheath. The burlap adds a rustic touch that keeps it from being too sweet. The best part? This bouquet only costs around $15! Materials: 10 double-petaled tulips 1-2 stems of "cheerful" narcissus Twine A piece of burlap A vase Scissors Directions: 1. Trim the very ends of the flowers. 2. Start with a few of the larger tulips at the bottom of the bouquet; add the smaller tulips towards the top. 3. Add the narcissus blossoms towards the bottom of the bouquet and off-center. 4. Wrap in twine, then wrap the burlap over that. Your bouquet will be bright and fragrant.. enjoy the springtime blooms! By: Chelsea Fuss
Photos By: Mary SwensonCandles are that one favor you know your guests will use, and they're easier to make than you may think! Forget special candle-making equipment -- microwaveable soy wax is easy to use, and add a package of candle wicking (both available at craft stores) and you're ready to get started! Begin by choosing an interesting container for your candle: vintage tins, miniature clay pots, and teacups all make lovely and unique statements, and are easy to coordinate with your event. For our project, we used inexpensive cobalt blue jars found on eBay. First, we cut the wicking to fit the depth of our container. To keep the wick straight, we tied the top loosely around a wooden stick long enough so that it was able to rest on top of the jar, and then centered the wick over the jar. We put the soy wax flakes in a microwave-safe container with a spout (which makes it easier to control the wax when we're ready to pour it into our jars) and melted the wax according to the package instructions. You can personalize your candle's fragrance with a huge variety of fragrance oils, or leave them unscented. We added a few drops of lavender oil to our hot, melted wax, carefully poured it into the jars, and let them sit undisturbed until completely cooled and solid. While the candles cooled, we prepped the packaging for our candles. We made simple gift tags and cut sprigs of dried lavender to tie around each jar. The finished product: fragrant soy candles, personalized for each guest! Use each candle as a place setting, or display them all together on a favor table. Your guests will love them! Photos By: Mary Swenson